July 9, 2019

What is the Value in Mental Illness?

Ally Zlatar, 22

For such a long time I thought if I was thinner, I would be happier. Instead, quite the opposite occurred, and I became confined to my body. For years now, I have developed a distorted relationship with food, weight, and body image. The problem was not only the external physical ramifications of the illness, but the internalized struggles. The reality of living with the inner torment derived from this disease was unbearable, it is incredibly difficult to express how having an eating disorder can impact the identity of someone who is ill. This is where my research emerges. The lived-in experience of someone with an eating disorder is so commonly misrepresented within contemporary society. Countless women and men are damaged when it comes to body image. There is a noticeable lack of research or literature within the art field concentrating specifically on what the distorted body, eating disorders, and thinness can convey about the human condition.

This publication seeks to address these discrepancies between what relationship between a physical body and its occupier and gives us a unique opportunity to provide a reflective analysis on this illness and what it can state about the human condition. Which often is ignoring the psychological torment, emotional isolation and its repercussions.

The selected contributors each have endured their own experiences and bring forth their stories and creative manifestations derived from their unwell bodies. By creating a body of work that examines thinness and the unattainable quest to achieve it, one should gain a comprehensive understanding of complexities between mind, body, family dynamic, social pressures, cultural norms and value systems. As well as gain insight into the severe abnormalities in eating attitudes and behaviors in which the individual has a distorted image of their body shape and weight”the starving artist:” is a research based and art collection that brings together a variety of individuals experiences, mediums and contributors. I want to encourage a creative and multidisciplinary approach.

The Starving Artist, 2019Writing- Artist Publication5" x 8"